Jonathan Chait

This Chris Christie For President Thing Is Weird
July 20, 2011

Of all the rumored and hoped-for Republican presidential candidacies, the one that baffles me most is Chris Christie. He squeaked out an election by running in an off-year, when Republicans enjoyed a huge national turnout discrepancy, and against an unpopular incumbent. He's won legislative victories by taking advantage of the divided, corrupt, relentlessly parochial Democratic opposition in his state.

Conservatives Care About Workplace Liberty
July 20, 2011

The Washington Examiner has an editorial demanding that the National Labor Relations Board "crack down" on union thuggery.

Do Privately Negotiated Budget Deals Count?
July 20, 2011

The Republican party has made a lot of hay blaming the Obama administration for the deficit it inherited in 2009. That line of attack has become more difficult to sustain since President Obama offered Republicans a $4 trillion deficit-cutting deal tilted overwhelmingly toward spending cuts -- indeed, if we assume that the Bush tax cuts on income over $250,000 expire, it consists entirely of net spending cuts. And so, to sustain their position, Republicans have leaned heavily on the concept that budget cuts offered in private negotiations don't count. They're not real.

Obama Losing Policy, Winning Politics Of Debt Ceiling Fight
July 20, 2011

I've been pretty critical of President Obama's strategy on the debt ceiling negotiations, and the whole saga could well end in economic disaster, bad long-term policy, or both. That said, I must concede that Obama has, largely through ideological retreat, maneuvered the debate onto terrain where he holds the public opinion high ground. Consider this question from the latest WSJ/NBC poll: Which of the following approaches being considered in Congress to deal with the Federal debt ceiling are you more likely to support?

Boehner Goes Bargain Shopping
July 20, 2011

John Boehner says the Gang of Six deficit plan is like the deal he walked away from with President Obama, but worse: Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) office said Tuesday that a $3.7 trillion deficit-reduction plan from the Senate's Gang of Six appears to fall short of goals set by House Republicans. "This plan shares many similarities with the framework the Speaker discussed with the president, but also appears to fall short in some important areas. The House is voting today on our 'cut, cap, and balance' plan, and we hope the Senate will take it up soon.

&c
July 19, 2011

-- Allen West's horrible attack on Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, via Ben Smith at Politico -- People want a debt compromise. People and voters. And Republicans. -- Evgeny Morozov's cover story on Google's fall from grace -- Rick Hertzberg on how the debt ceiling debate is confused by shoddy terminology

Gang Of Six Has Last Gasp
July 19, 2011

The Senate "Gang Of Six" today made a final push for its deficit reduction proposal, announcing that apostate gang member Tom Coburn had rejoined the group, releasing its plan, and unveiling numerous Senatorial endorsements. President Obama praised the group and its plan at his press conference today. The question I have here is the same question I've had all along: How do they think this plan will get through the House of Representatives?

Cut Cap & Balance And The New Frontiers of Kookery
July 19, 2011

A scant few months after the Paul Ryan budget redefined the boundaries of conservative fanaticism, the Republican Party's new "Cut, Cap, and Balance" Constitutional Amendment makes that document seem quaintly reasonable. Ezra Klein sums up the policy: Ronald Reagan's entire presidency would've been unconstitutional under CC&B. Same for George W. Bush's. Paul Ryan's budget wouldn't pass muster. The only budget that might work for this policy -- if you could implement it -- would be the proposal produced by the ultra-conservative Republican Study Committee.

Romney Death Watch
July 19, 2011

PPP now has him trailing Michelle Bachmann in a national head-to-head matchup. Check out this part about Romney's support for the individual mandate: Only 17% of Republican voters say they'd be willing to vote for someone who had supported an individual health insurance mandate at the state level, compared to 66% who say they would not be willing to support such a candidate. The funny thing about that is Romney's getting 17% right now with that latter group of voters and his favorability with them is 49/33.

The Debt Default Enablers
July 19, 2011

Want to know why we're on the verge of a debt ceiling crisis? Things like this column today from William Cohan: Combs worries, though, because of how inherently more difficult it is for people to understand the machinations of the bond market than those of the stock market, that the message this time is not getting through to the politicians in Washington, who seem intent on taking a nonchalant approach to the potential Aug. 2 deadline for raising the debt ceiling.

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